This blog post is from Tania Lewis, Alumni Coordinator at Crossroads Centre, Antigua. Many thanks to Tania, a colleague who is a member of TPAS, Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services. I hope that Tania's contribution will encourage other members of TPAS to share the innovative programs that are offered in Alumni Services at treatment centers throughout the country.
When Does Recovery End? How Renewal Retreats Can Help Provide An Answer
One affordable option that we have discovered is through the development of Renewal Retreats. Like most great ideas, the idea came from our alumni, many of whom came back regularly for alumni - reunion weekends each year. They suggested that we have a slightly longer program for people in recovery to “recharge their batteries” and fall in love again with their recovery. The program would have a strong Twelve-step focus and would be available to anyone in recovery, regardless of where they attended treatment, or whether or not they had attended treatment, and the program would offer a selection of lectures, group discussion and self help groups.
They also wanted to make sure that they could capture some of the ‘magic’ of Crossroads that they experienced when they were in treatment with time allotted to meditate and participate in yoga and massage therapy. Add to that the freedom to explore the island, experience the culinary delights of a new culture and see some of the most breathtaking views of the Caribbean, and we had all the ingredients and everything we needed to create a one of a kind renewal experience.
Over the years that we have been offering renewal programs, we have heard various reasons why people have chosen to attend. For some it was that they were feeling at risk of relapse or were fatigued with the routine of their everyday life. For others it was to celebrate a milestone- a sober birthday, a new job, or a recovery breakthrough. No matter the reason, they came together to our island paradise to reconnect with themselves and others. Many find a strong spiritual connection with the natural environment in Antigua. Perhaps it’s the clear blue water and the quiet sandy beaches that are so plentiful in Antigua. Or, maybe it’s that it is a healthy getaway: providing the opportunity to unplug from daily distractions. To simply be still with one’s thoughts and feelings is a luxury in today’s world. It really is a basic concept- this idea of doing something proactive for our ongoing recovery - something to keep us well.